Rick Famuyiwa’s ‘The Wood’ to be adapted for Showtime TV series

Based on the 1999 film, the show will center on the friendship of three young Black men growing up in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood

Showtime has given a pilot order to Rick Famuyiwa and Justin Hillian for a show based on their 1999 coming-of-age film The Wood, which centers on the friendship of three young Black men growing up in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood. 

Omar Epps, Richard T. Jones and Taye Diggs starred in the film version as the three lifelong friends who reminisce about their lives and loves during their time growing up in the 80s. The story centers on Diggs’ character who gets cold feet the day before his wedding.

“It’s a cool coming-of-age story for young Black dudes transitioning from high school to being a man and having a strong group of friends,” said movie fan Derrick Morris in a 2019 interview with Vice about the cultural impact of The Wood.

“I think it’s just really relatable with the whole ‘macking and hanging’ thing as a moniker for their brotherhood because that’s really what young dudes are taught at that age: playing basketball, hanging with your friends, and being with girls. It’s really like a worry-free Black childhood movie,” he continued.

The Wood is an honest look at friendship and dating from the perspective of three young Black males born and raised in the gentrifying L.A. suburb of Inglewood, fondly referred to by locals as the City Of Champions. The trio’s struggles to balance fatherhood, ambition and loyalty force them to question if they are growing apart … or closer together. With a knowing nod back to the characters of the 1999 film on which it is based, this romantic comedy showcases the humor and heart of young Black men and women trying to navigate life, love and likes on the ‘Gram,” reads the synopsis of The Wood TV series.

"Dope" Photocall - The 68th Annual Cannes Film Festival
Director Rick Famuyiwa at the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival on May 22, 2015. (Photo by Alex B. Huckle/Getty Images)

No casting decisions have been announced yet.

Famuyiwa’s semi-autobiographical film also featured Sanaa Lathan, LisaRaye McCoy, and De’Aundre Bonds. The Wood grossed $25M at the box office on a $6 million dollar budget.

“It’s not a complete autobiography of me,” Famuyiwa said in a 1999 interview. “I mean, kind of a small portion of it is real and I just made that up bigger. It’s definitely based on me and my best friend — that’s who this tag-along is.”

Famuyiwa went on to say that Roland (the groom) is based on him and that there “was a wedding, but I didn’t have cold feet.”

Richard T. Jones, Omar Epps, Taye Diggs in The Wood (Paramount)

On setting the story in Inglewood, the son of Nigerian immigrants said that “the thing you gotta understand about LA is that everything is suburbia. Los Angeles isn’t set up like San Francisco or New York. People come to LA and they expect to see a ghetto like the projects, but that’s not the way it’s set up. Inglewood, in particular, is the furthest thing from a ghetto. It’s a middle-class community, but it’s gotten a bad rap over the years…because of Grand Canyon and Pulp Fiction and other films,” he explained.

“I would be lying if I said there isn’t a negative element in the city, but I would say it’s no different than any other city. You come across gangs and you come across negative things — but it’s like everywhere else, if that’s what you gravitate toward and that’s what you want to do, you’re gonna find trouble no matter what you do. But we were never into that. My group of friends were never into that,” Famuyiwa added. 

“Hopefully, (anyone) can look at these guys and relate to them,” he said of The Wood. “You can say, ‘I was just as nervous at the dance as this guy was.’ Then you can kind of break down some of those misconceptions and realize our experiences are universal no matter where you grow up.”

Watch the original movie trailer below:

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